I can appreciate a good joke

Published February 15th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

I can appreciate a good joke as much as any other guy.  But there’s a difference between making a joke and insulting other people.  When you begin to bring in specific religious practice or condemnations for not doing as the religion "requires," that becomes an insult.  Think of it this way: your website is good, but what’s the point of your occasional advertisement on the bottom with a picture of the religious book of FSM saying "Save Your Heathen Soul"?  It directly says to others that if you don’t believe what we tell you, you’re wrong and going to hell.  Yes, I’m a Christian, no I don’t believe most of the things in the church’s past were okay.  I simply choose to believe that there is a God, and if anybody has any questions about my faith, I’ll be happy to answer and guide them if that’s what they want.  If they believe otherwise, I’ll allow them to stay that way, because there’s nothing I can do to force their belief.  All I’m really saying is, think about what purpose each thing you say serves, and whether it’s taking it a step too far.

The point of our church is not to offend, but understand it is bound to happen.  Most of us in the Church of FSM are not anti-religion, and we have many Pastafarians who are active members of mainstream religions.  Part of what we’re doing here is questioning ideas considered rude to question.  Or, knocking down religion a peg – however you want to look at it.  We think it’s a dangerous situation for institutions and ideas to be above scrutiny.  

At the risk of spoiling the “Save Your Heathen Soul” joke, I’ll explain it.  You see, Christians often threaten nonbelievers with THEIR hell-place for various sins or sinful lifestyles – either explicitly, or indirectly, or in a judging veiled-friendliness sort of way.  But nonbelievers DON’T BELIEVE IN YOUR HELL.  Aside from the fact that we find it offensive the idea that we need a rulebook to define our morality, it is a strange proposition to be invited to believe in scripture in order to be saved from a consequence of it.  The “Save Your Heathen Soul” joke is a nod to other nonbelievers who have experienced this phenomenon. 

But, DJN, I honestly like Christians, the majority of those I know – and my experience in running the Church of the FSM has only increased my opinion of Christians (really).  I believe that the majority of Christians are thoughtful and open-minded, and that most are members of churches partly because of a belief in God, and partly because of the social benefits and community that being part of a church allows.  I get a ton of emails from thoughtful Christians who understand what we’re doing here at the Church of FSM – people like you who don’t approve of the abuses perpetrated in the Name of God. 

So, understand that around here there is an effort not to offend people, but at the same take a hard look at the strange business of religion. And in this way we give Glory to The Almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster, the one and only True God, who someday I hope Touches you with His Noodly Appendage so that you may know His Loving Embrace. 


385 Responses to “I can appreciate a good joke”

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  1. opiesysco says:

    ” I simply choose to believe that there is a God”
    Do you know how silly that sounds? Say it to yourself a few times and it just sounds more silly.
    How about ” I simply choose to believe that there is a Santa”
    ” I simply choose to believe that there is an easter bunny”
    ” I simply choose to believe that there are witches”
    ” I simply choose to believe that there is a Zeus”
    ” I simply choose to believe that there is a Great Pumpkin”
    DJN, who really cares if you are insulted? That is the problem in the US today, everyone is too easily insulted or offended. If you cant take a joke, dont view this website.
    If you are insulted by the FSM, are you just as insulted when a priest or pastor is molesting little boys or being caught with a prostitute? I bet you just let that slide. How about when people kill in the name of their (or yours) god, does that insult you. How about the people who let their children and other family members die because they do not get them to see a doctor? Because their god will heal them.
    If you are insulted, so what?

    • TheDude says:

      If you are insulted by the FSM, are you just as insulted when a priest or pastor is molesting little boys or being caught with a prostitute? I bet you just let that slide. How about when people kill in the name of their (or yours) god, does that insult you. How about the people who let their children and other family members die because they do not get them to see a doctor? Because their god will heal them.

      Wow. This DNJ guy does need to learn how to take a joke, but wow. That has nothing to do with anything. It doesn’t matter if he’s part of the same “church.” Holding someone up to collective guilt is an asshole move.

      “Oh you’re German? Well my great grandparents were Jews placed in concentration camps. But I bet you’ll just let that slide.”

      Come on dude, grow up, you’re making us look stupid.

      • TheDude says:

        How can you not see the cognitive dissonance in downvoting without replying?

        • tekHedd says:

          I agree with your original criticism of the previous post; even though it made good points, they were unrelated to the original email and pretty much just cost the FSM community cred. And when it comes down to the question of “who cares if you were insulted,” well, frankly, I care. I don’t like to see people insulted, although sometimes it just means they didn’t get the joke (as in this case).

          But sometimes a reply is not necessary. Obviously, a number of people (at least 29 at this time) think it’s totally OK to spew not-entirely-relevant atheist talking points as a response to this letter…these are our version of the people who, if they were Christians, would spew tired, overused apologetics in the same situation. I assume this behavior serves some cathartic purpose for people who need to see these arguments repeated again, because it sure doesn’t help convince people who disagree.

        • Insightful Ape says:

          No dissonance. Not evey bit of nonsense is worth a reply.

      • Drained and Washed Clean says:

        I think it has everything to do with what DNJ said. Any challenge to religion is offensive, stating facts about the history of the world is offensive… People are offended at our existence because we don’t believe the way they do. Instead of coming after us and telling us how offensive we are, why don’t they go and write to the catholic church saying how offensive it is that priests are allowed to molest little boys and just danced around to different parishes? Why are people not writing letters to WBC and letting them know what offensive people they are. How about all of those churches who spend their tithe money on building bigger and better churches so they can keep up with the Jones’s while people are starving on the street.

        We are doing nothing wrong. But if we really want to go after people who are offensive, then they should be going after those who are trampling the constitution by trying to put religion in schools, or priests, or any number of other things that xians do either personally or churches collectively. If he wants to put time into flaming people who are offensive, perhaps he should start there.

        • inresponse says:

          not that i disagree, but as a side note rebuttal to your presumptions, you should know many of us DO write letters to the catholic church and most of us ARE offended – even outraged. you have an easy time criticizing, but it’s catholic children who are being molested.

        • Drained and Washed Clean says:

          I didn’t realize the religion of the child mattered. I am more concerned with the fact that children are being hurt and no one is really doing anything. While I appreciate the fact that you are attempting to do something… Writing a letter, honestly, isn’t going to do anything. Until people really start raising hell about it, nothing is going to change. Raising hell starts in the wallet.

    • Capellini says:

      Lately, I’ve seen efforts to come off as less insulting to our religious counterparts, and I would certainly like to think that Pastafarians are accepting, even as we poke fun at religious establishments, but it’s hateful commentary like these that make me worry that we’re just as bad as those who send us condemning and hateful letters, of which I do not think this is. This letter is thoughful, well composed, and purely concerned criticism, and when you are the one responding with hateful and condemning commentary, you’re only making us look bad.

      • opiesysco says:

        I did not make this post to insult. I am just asking “So what if you are insulted?” People in this country are too easily insulted or offended. My question is “so what?”
        If you watch the news, you will see almost every day that theists are saying they are under assault. My point about this is, if the religious leaders were not stealing money, being involved with child sex crimes, or other unlawful sexual acts, trying to undermine the constitution, they would not be under attack. I really don’t care if someone believes in a god. It is their right under the constitution. But, when the religious leaders permit the members to break the law, or hide its members evil acts of child molestation, then they need to be under assault. If a theist says they are insulted by what an atheist think, of course I am going to tell them to clean up their own back yard before they say something to me.
        Why do we have to treat religious people with kid gloves? They sure don’t have a problem attacking atheists.
        If this offends you, then, so what?

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          I don’t believe in turning the other cheek, it just shows a willingness to suffer abuse, however I do believe in extending courtesies. When it comes to discussing theism, I have to give credit to any theist who comes here politely expressing their concerns; to come into a contrary climate where they are the minority is not easy, even with the cognitive protection anonymity affords. It should be our goal to draw these individuals into further discussion, empower their logic, and get them to consider the arguments long enough to reintroduce cognitive dissonance. To do anything else simply affirms their preconceived notions and sends them running back with open arms to the reality religion creates.

        • Olgeezer2949 says:

          What far too many people don’t realize is that with being shocking or offensive nothing much would ever be discussed. It is the very act of being offensive or shocking that gets people talking. I believe that nothing is sacred except for the right to be shocking.

          Ask yourself, “what is religion?” It is a philosophy,which is a way people use to try and understand the world they perceive. When it becomes dogma it is no longer trying to perceive, it is trying to coerce. Faith in god is a feeling, it is not something reasonable, at least it hasn’t been since the first human reasoned that the earth is not the center of the universe. Feelings are not tools of cognition. What might have been appropriate in one century is not in a time when we send pictures back from space.

          For any philosophy to be valid it needs to be pro humanity and pro thought. Any thought is worthy of discussion, if only for the purpose of showing how preposterous it might be. Theists lie to point out that there is order to the universe, therefore it must have conscious design, as if the alternative of a disordered universe were even possible.

          The notion of love thy neighbor seems to have been lost for the fundamentalists, and indeed for much of the human race, but it is simply giving everyone the same right to live as they choose so long as they don’t force anything on you why should you care?

          Our home grown fundamentalists are no different than the islamo-facists that want every infidel to convert or die.
          Religion used to be the sole guide to moral behavior for most of the world. Now we have enough time and thought to to know that we need a moral code but it must be one that works for everybody, even those who don’t believe in anything more than having another beer.

          Ok I’ve rambled enough.

          Kill a commie for christ.

    • Mr Cooper (all hail fsm) says:

      there is a santa
      him and jesus are the same person
      same birthday
      both help people
      both have magic powers

      • Wesley says:

        Woah woah woah woah. Wait wait wait. I was born on Christmas too! Does this mean I’m Jesus and Santa and have magical powers? Either way, all hail the FSM! RAmen

  2. Lioss says:

    Yes In think that if you don’t believe in FSM you will go to hell (where the beer is not cool).But you are christian,so you must believe that if I don’t share your religion I will go to hell.
    I don’t take it as an insult,I have faith in the FSM so I don’t care if you think it’s wrong cause I know it’s right.
    Why do react like that?Maybe your faith is weak and for you every non-christian dogma is an insult.

  3. theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

    ” It directly says to others that if you don’t believe what we tell you, you’re wrong and going to hell.”

    And this differs from other religions how?? I recall a story I heard where a young Catholic girl was traumatized when a nun told her how her very close friend – a Protestant – would be going to hell no matter how virtuous a life she led.

    • Brian Fritzen says:

      …well, she is Protestant… lulz.. Reminds me of a story my grandma told me: Being Irish Catholic she was told to stay away from those “”Protestant Pups.”

      I would rather be in Pastafarian Hell than their heaven. Even if the beer is warm and stale and the strippers aren’t as attractive, it beats sure beats singing in a choir all day long.

      • Keith says:

        One of the things that worries me is sitting on a cloud. If there are clouds above you (like apartments I daresay) you will bear the brunt of things when they go to the toilet.

        • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

          So THAT’s where shitstorms come from!

  4. Brian Fritzen says:

    I think the church of the FSM, once you understand our purpose, serves that purpose quite well. Study the site, start with the letter, and you will begin to understand.

    I find it funny that you mention “insults.” Yet, as an atheist, I find many, many good Christians state (to my face no less) that I will go to hell because I don’t believe in their god. Since I have read the teachings of Jesus (in and out of the Bible) I know that (if he existed) I know he never said, “Be rude unto those who do not view the world as I do.”

    Even though I don’t believe in hell, I find it odd that my stating my belief system, when asked, automatically makes them think they can be rude to my face and say such things. It is similar to those (well meaning, I suppose) people who walk up to pregnant women and ask them of their pregnancy or touch their stomachs. I guess they don’t “mean” to be rude, but it is quite rude.

    When someone tells me their Christian, I say, “Ok.”

    So, if there is any insult that you take away from here, remember that you are the one who came here. Were I to walk into a church and proclaim in front of the priest and congregation my nonfaith, they certainly would state that I am going to hell. But in that space, I can’t take insult because that is their space. This is ours. I never forced you to come here. I never insulted you. You take insult as your wont, but it wasn’t directed at you like so many insults have been aimed at me simply for my non belief.

  5. Brian Fritzen says:

    I have a proposition for you DJ, and for any Christian who would come here. Walk for a day in an atheists shoes. Go forth and proclaim that you are atheist, not loudly, but when asked of your faith or when faith rears its head, state that you don’t believe and see how normal, rational human beings suddenly turn on you for no other reason than your belief system is different than yours.

    Do that, then we can have a talk…

  6. Danimal says:

    Dear DJN,
    You seem like a nice person so I hope you read Bobby’s explanation of the “save your heathen soul” joke. I hope you can appreciate what atheists go through when they hear that same message delivered from a theist source. Our (or at least my) motivation behind taking common elements of religion and subverting them through satire to serve a Pastafarian end is not to take an eye for an eye approach but instead for you to walk a while in our shoes. Hopefully to have you examine your own beliefs and practices and consider if they are good or not.

    Your being offended is an inherent problem in communication: the difference between intention and interpretation. As you can see by other posts you said things that I’m sure you never intended to offend pastafarians but were found offensive nonetheless. Everyone from Bobby Henderson to Sarah Palin needs to consider not only the intent of a message but also interpretations. I believe Bobby tries very hard to be considerate of others even if it doesn’t score him any popularity points with the community as a whole. If you don’t believe me stick around for a while and see for yourself.

    If you do want to engage in discussion here please remember, logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence is the rule. If you can’t abide by that rule then thanks for your concern and have a nice day.

  7. jilliankay says:

    “We think it’s a dangerous situation for institutions and ideas to be above scrutiny.” Ramen, brother!!

    Also, really love that someone else gets this point:
    “But nonbelievers DON’T BELIEVE IN YOUR HELL. Aside from the fact that we find it offensive the idea that we need a rulebook to define our morality, it is a strange proposition to be invited to believe in scripture in order to be saved from a consequence of it. ” – well put.

  8. Patrick Sullivan says:

    Obviously the original writer can’t appreciate a joke at all. Otherwise he wouldn’t have written.

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